100 Greatest Songs of the 90’s #90 Death In Vegas – Dirge

Released: 1999

By the end of the decade it wasn’t so much about whether you remembered the good times but if the walls had closed in sufficiently enough to hold in all your paranoid delusions. DJ/Producer duo Steve Fearless and Tim Holmes had been part of the Heavenly Social crowd with the Chemical Brothers, but their debut album Dead Elvis had been like having soulful spiders crawling round your skull, a literal rave from the grave.

Their second would win them a Mercury prize nomination, The Contino Sessions a much expanded upon vision of their Crowley-ist disco manifesto featuring contributors as diverse as The London Community Gospel choir and Iggy Pop.

And yet for all the stimulus overload at play elsewhere, it was by doing almost nothing that co-conspirator Dot Allison made it’s opener Dirge so riddled with menace. There were a million things she could’ve been into whilst deadpanning her la-la-la’s; sharpening a knife, putting you in the cross hairs of a rifle sight, washing the guts off her dress. As the instrumentation builds around them they remain the only constant thing, a resigned sigh accepting brutality against a backdrop of controlled aggression. Now it didn’t matter if you remembered it, you had to pray it didn’t remember you.

Read about The Contino Sessions here.


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